The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer Part 13

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"He shall not do so much longer," thought I; "for as I find that there are no other pa.s.sengers, I'll make my toilet on deck, and enjoy the view besides." With this determination I ascended slowly and cautiously the companion ladder, and stepped out upon the deck; but scarcely had I done so, when a roar of the loudest laughter made me turn my head towards the p.o.o.p, and there to my horror of horrors, I beheld Tom O'Flaherty seated between two ladies, whose most vociferous mirth I soon perceived was elicited at my expense.

All the party of the preceding night were also there, and as I turned from their grinning faces to the land, I saw, to my shame and confusion, that we were still lying beside the pier at Howth; while the band-boxes, trunks, and imperials of new arrivals were incessantly pouring in, as travelling carriages kept driving up to the place of embarkation. I stood perfectly astounded and bewildered--shame for my ridiculous costume would have made me fly at any other time--but there I remained to be laughed at patiently, while that villain O'Flaherty leading me pa.s.sively forward, introduced me to his friends--"Mrs. Bingham, Mr. Lorrequer; Mr. Lorrequer, Miss Bingham. Don't be prepossessed against him, ladies, for when not in love, and properly dressed, he is a marvellously well-looking young gentleman; and as--"

What the remainder of the sentence might be, I knew not, for I rushed down into the cabin, and locking the door, never opened it till I could perceive from the stern windows that we were really off on our way to England, and recognized once more the laughing face of O'Flaherty, who, as he waved his hat to his friends from the pier, reminded them that "they were under the care and protection of his friend Lorrequer, who, he trusted, would condescend to increase his wearing apparel under the circ.u.mstances."

CHAPTER XXII.

THE JOURNEY.

When I did at last venture upon deck, it was with a costume studiously accurate, and as much of manner as I could possibly muster, to endeavour at once to erase the unfortunate impression of my first appearance; this, however, was not destined to be a perfectly successful manoeuvre, and I was obliged after a few minutes to join the laugh, which I found could not be repressed, at my expense. One good result certainly followed from all this. I became almost immediately on intimate terms with Mrs. Bingham and her daughter, and much of the awkwardness in my position as their chaperon, which bon gre, mal gre I was destined to be, was at once got over. Mrs. Bingham herself was of that "genre" of widow which comes under the "fat, fair, and forty" category, with a never-ceasing flow of high, almost boisterous, spirits--an excellent temper, good health --and a well-stocked purse. Life to her was like a game of her favourite "speculation." When, as she believed, the "company honest," and knew her cards trumps, she was tolerably easy for the result. She liked Kingstown--she liked short whist--she liked the military--she liked "the junior bar," of which she knew a good number--she had a well furnished house in Kildare-street--and a well cus.h.i.+oned pew in St. Anne's--she was a favourite at the castle--and Dr. Labatt "knew her const.i.tution." Why, with all these advantages, she should ever have thought of leaving the "happy valley" of her native city, it was somewhat hard to guess. Was it that thoughts of matrimony, which the continent held out more prospect for, had invaded the fair widow's heart? was it that the altered condition to which politics had greatly reduced Dublin, had effected this change of opinion? or was it like that indescribable longing for the unknown something, which we read of in the pathetic history of the fair lady celebrated, I believe, by Petrarch, but I quote from memory: "Mrs. Gill is very ill, Nothing can improve her, But to see the Tuillerie, And waddle through the Louvre."

None of these, I believe, however good and valid reasons in themselves, were the moving powers upon the present occasion; the all-sufficient one being that Mrs. Bingham had a daughter. Now Miss Bingham was Dublin too --but Dublin of a later edition--and a finer, more hot-pressed copy than her mamma. She had been educated at Mrs. Somebody's seminary in Mountjoy-square--had been taught to dance by Montague--and had learned French from a Swiss governess--with a number of similar advantages --a very pretty figure--dark eyes--long eye-lashes and a dimple--and last, but of course least, the deserved reputation of a large fortune. She had made a most successful debut in the Dublin world, where she was much admired and flattered, and which soon suggested to her quick mind, as it has often done in similar cases to a young provincial debutante, not to waste her "fraicheur" upon the minor theatres, but at once to appear upon the "great boards;" so far evidencing a higher flight of imagination and enterprise than is usually found among the clique of her early a.s.sociates, who may be characterized as that school of young ladies, who like the "Corsair" and Dunleary, and say, "ah don't!"

She possessed much more common sense than her mamma, and promised under proper advantages to become speedily quite sufficiently acquainted with the world and its habitudes. In the meanwhile, I perceived that she ran a very considerable risque of being carried off by some mustachoed Pole, with a name like a sneeze, who might pretend to enjoy the entree into the fas.h.i.+onable circles of the continent.

Very little study of my two fair friends enabled me to see thus much; and very little "usage" sufficed to render me speedily intimate with both; the easy bonhommie of the mamma, who had a very methodistical appreciation of what the "connexion" call "creature comforts," amused me much, and opened one ready path to her good graces by the opportunity afforded of getting up a luncheon of veal cutlets and London porter, of which I partook, not a little to the evident loss of the fair daughter's esteem.

While, therefore, I made the tour of the steward's cell in search of Harvey's sauce, I brushed up my memory of the Corsair and Childe Harold, and alternately discussed Stilton and Southey, Lover and lobsters, Haynes Bayley and ham.

The day happened to be particularly calm and delightful, so that we never left the deck; and the six hours which brought us from land to land, quickly pa.s.sed over in this manner; and ere we reached "the Head," I had become the warm friend and legal adviser of the mother; and with the daughter I was installed as chief confidant of all her griefs and sorrows, both of which appointments cost me a solemn promise to take care of them till their arrival in Paris, where they had many friends and acquaintances awaiting them. Here, then, as usual, was the invincible facility with which I gave myself up to any one who took the trouble to influence me. One thing, nevertheless, I was determined on, to let no circ.u.mstance defer my arrival at Paris a day later than was possible: therefore, though my office as chaperon might diminish my comforts en route, it should not interfere with the object before me. Had my mind not been so completely engaged with my own immediate prospects, when hope suddenly and unexpectedly revived, had become so tinged with fears and doubts as to be almost torture, I must have been much amused with my present position, as I found myself seated with my two fair friends, rolling along through Wales in their comfortable travelling carriage --giving all the orders at the different hotels--seeing after the luggage--and acting en maitre in every respect.

The good widow enjoyed particularly the difficulty which my precise position, with regard to her and her daughter, threw the different innkeepers on the road into, sometimes supposing me to be her husband, sometimes her son, and once her son-in-law; which very alarming conjecture brought a crimson tinge to the fair daughter's cheek, an expression, which, in my ignorance, I thought looked very like an inclination to faint in my arms.

At length we reached London, and having been there safely installed at "Mivart's," I sallied forth to present my letter to the Horse Guards, and obtain our pa.s.sport for the continent.

"Number nine, Poland-street, sir" said the waiter, as I inquired the address of the French Consul. Having discovered that my interview with the commander-in-chief was appointed for four o'clock, I determined to lose no time, but make every possible arrangement for leaving London in the morning.

A cab quietly conveyed me to the door of the Consul, around which stood several other vehicles, of every shape and fas.h.i.+on, while in the doorway were to be seen numbers of people, thronging and pressing, like the Opera pit on a full night. Into the midst of this a.s.semblage I soon thrust myself, and, borne upon the current, at length reached a small back parlour, filled also with people; a door opening into another small room in the front, showed a similar mob there, with the addition of a small elderly man, in a bag wig and spectacles, very much begrimed with snuff, and speaking in a very choleric tone to the various applicants for pa.s.sports, who, totally ignorant of French, insisted upon interlarding their demands with an occasional stray phrase, making a kind of tesselated pavement of tongues, which would have shamed Babel. Nearest to the table at which the functionary sat, stood a mustachoed gentleman, in a blue frock and white trowsers, a white hat jauntily set upon one side of his head, and primrose gloves. He cast a momentary glance of a very undervaluing import upon the crowd around him, and then, turning to the Consul, said in a very soprano tone-- "Pa.s.sport, monsieur!"

"Que voulez vous que je fa.s.se," replied the old Frenchman, gruffly.

"Je suis j'ai--that is, donnez moi pa.s.sport."

"Where do you go?" replied the Consul.

"Calai."

"Comment diable, speak Inglis, an I understan' you as besser. Your name?"

"Lorraine Snaggs, gentilhomme."

"What age have you?--how old?"

"Twenty-two."

"C'est ca," said the old consul, flinging the pa.s.sport across the table, with the air of a man who thoroughly comprehended the applicant's pretension to the designation of gentilhomme Anglais.

"Will you be seated ma'mselle?" said the polite old Frenchman, who had hitherto been more like a bear than a human being--"Ou allez vous donc; where to, ma chere?"

"To Paris, sir."

"By Calais?"

"No, sir; by Boulogne"-- "C'est bon; quel age avez vous. What old, ma belle?"

"Nineteen, sir, in June."

"And are you alone, quite, eh?"

"No, sir, my little girl."

"Ah! your leetel girl--c'est fort bien--je m'appercois; and your name?"

"f.a.n.n.y Linwood, sir."

"C'est fini, ma chere, Mademoiselle Fanni Linwood," said the old man, as he wrote down the name.

"Oh, sir, I beg your pardon, but you have put me down Mademoiselle, and --and--you see, sir, I have my little girl."

"A c'est egal, mam'selle, they don't mind these things in France--au plaisir de vous voir. Adieu."

"They don't mind these things in France," said I to myself, repeating the old consul's phrase, which I could not help feeling as a whole chapter on his nation.

My business was soon settled, for I spoke nothing but English--very little knowledge of the world teaching me that when we have any favour, however slight, to ask, it is always good policy to make the amende by gratifying the amour propre of the granter--if, happily, there be an opportunity for so doing.

When I returned to Mivart's, I found a written answer to my letter of the morning, stating that his lords.h.i.+p of the Horse Guards was leaving town that afternoon, but would not delay my departure for the continent, to visit which a four month's leave was granted me, with a recommendation to study at Weimar.

The next day brought us to Dover, in time to stroll about the cliffs during the evening, when I again talked sentiment with the daughter till very late. The Madame herself was too tired to come out, so that we had our walk quite alone. It is strange enough how quickly this travelling together has shaken us into intimacy. Isabella says she feels as if I were her brother; and I begin to think myself she is not exactly like a sister. She has a marvellously pretty foot and ancle.

The climbing of cliffs is a very dangerous pastime. How true the French adage--"C'est plus facile de glisser sur la gazon que sur la glace." But still nothing can come of it; for if Lady Jane be not false, I must consider myself an engaged man.

"Well, but I hope," said I, rousing myself from a reverie of some minutes, and inadvertently pressing the arm which leaned upon me--"your mamma will not be alarmed at our long absence?"

"Oh! not in the least; for she knows I'm with you."

And here I felt a return of the pressure--perhaps also inadvertently given, but which, whether or not, effectually set all my reasonings and calculations astray; and we returned to the hotel, silent on both sides.

The appearance of la chere mamma beside the hissing tea-urn brought us both back to ourselves; and, after an hour's chatting, we wished good night, to start on the morrow for the continent.

CHAPTER XXIII.

CALAIS.

It was upon a lovely evening in autumn, as the Dover steam-boat rounded the wooden pier at Calais, amid a fleet of small boats filled with eager and anxious faces, soliciting, in every species of bad English and "patois" [vulgar] French, the attention and patronage of the pa.s.sengers.

"Hotel de Bain, mi lor'."

"Hotel d'Angleterre," said another, in a voice of the most imposing superiority. "C'est superbe--pretty well."

"Hotel du Nord, votre Excellence--remise de poste and 'delays' (quere relays) at all hours."

"Commissionaire, mi ladi," sung out a small shrill treble from the midst of a crowded c.o.c.k-boat, nearly swamped beneath our paddle-wheel.

What a scene of bustle, confusion, and excitement does the deck of a steamer present upon such an occasion. Every one is running hither or thither. "Sauve qui peut" is now the watch-word; and friends.h.i.+ps, that promised a life-long endurance only half an hour ago, find here a speedy dissolution. The lady who slept all night upon deck, enveloped in the folds of your Astracan cloak, scarcely deigns an acknowledgment of you, as she adjusts her ringlets before the looking-gla.s.s over the stove in the cabin. The polite gentleman, that would have flown for a reticule or a smelling-bottle upon the high seas, won't leave his luggage in the harbour; and the gallantry and devotion that stood the test of half a gale of wind and a wet jacket, is not proof when the safety of a carpet-bag or the security of a "Mackintosh" is concerned.

And thus here, as elsewhere, is prosperity the touchstone of good feeling. All the various disguises which have been a.s.sumed, per viaggio, are here immediately abandoned, and, stripped of the travelling costume of urbanity and courtesy, which they put on for the voyage, they stand forth in all the unblus.h.i.+ng front of selfishness and self-interest.

Some tender scenes yet find their place amid the debris of this chaotic state. Here may be seen a careful mother adjusting innumerable shawls and handkerchiefs round the throat of a sea-green young lady with a cough; her maid is at the same instant taking a tender farewell of the steward in the after-cabin.

Here is a very red-faced and hot individual, with punch-coloured breeches and gaiters, disputing "one brandy too much" in his bill, and vowing that the company shall hear of it when he returns to England. There, a tall, elderly woman, with a Scotch-grey eye, and a sharp cheek-bone, is depositing within her m.u.f.f various seizable articles, that, until now, had been lying quietly in her trunk. Yonder, that raw-looking young gentleman, with the crumpled frock-coat, and loose cravat, and sea-sick visage, is asking every one "if they think he may land without a pa.s.sport." You scarcely recognise him for the cigar-smoking dandy of yesterday, that talked as if he had lived half his life on the continent. While there, a rather pretty girl is looking intently at some object in the blue water, beside the rudder post. You are surprised you cannot make it out; but then, she has the advantage of you, for the tall, well-looking man, with the knowing whiskers, is evidently whispering something in her ear.

"Steward, this is not my trunk--mine was a leather--"

"All the 'leathers' are gone in the first boat, sir."

"Most scandalous way of doing business."

"Trouble you for two-and-sixpence, sir."

"There's Matilda coughing again," says a thin, shrewish woman, with a kind of triumphant scowl at her better half; "but you would have her wear that thin shawl!"

"Whatever may be the fault of the shawl, I fancy no one will reproach her ancles for thinness," murmurs a young Guard's man, as he peeps up the companion-ladder.

Amid all the Babel of tongues, and uproar of voices, the thorough ba.s.s of the escape steam keeps up its infernal thunders, till the very brain reels, and, sick as you have been of the voyage, you half wish yourself once more at sea, if only to have a moment of peace and tranquillity.

Numbers now throng the deck who have never made their appearance before. Pale, jaundiced, and crumpled, they have all the sea-sick look and haggard cheek of the real martyr--all except one, a stout, swarthy, brown-visaged man, of about forty, with a frame of iron, and a voice like the fourth string of a violincello. You wonder why he should have taken to his bed: learn, then, that he is his Majesty's courier from the foreign office, going with despatches to Constantinople, and that as he is not destined to lie down in a bed for the next fourteen days, he is glad even of the narrow resemblance to one, he finds in the berth of a steam-boat. At length you are on sh.o.r.e, and marched off in a long string, like a gang of convicts to the Bureau de l'octroi, and here is begun an examination of the luggage, which promises, from its minuteness, to last for the three months you destined to spend in Switzerland. At the end of an hour you discover that the soi disant commissionaire will transact all this affair for a few francs; and, after a tiresome wait in a filthy room, jostled, elbowed, and trampled upon, by boors with sabots, you adjourn to your inn, and begin to feel that you are not in England.

Our little party had but few of the miseries here recounted to contend with. My "savoir faire," with all modesty be it spoken, has been long schooled in the art and practice of travelling; and while our less experienced fellow-travellers were deep in the novel mysteries of cotton stockings and petticoats, most ostentatiously displayed upon every table of the Bureau, we were comfortably seated in the handsome saloon of the Hotel du Nord, looking out upon a pretty gra.s.s plot, surrounded with orange trees, and displaying in the middle a jet d'eau about the size of a walking stick.

"Now, Mr. Lorrequer," said Mrs. Bingham, as she seated herself by the open window, "never forget how totally dependent we are upon your kind offices. Isabella has discovered already that the French of Mountjoy square, however intelligible in that neighbourhood, and even as far as Mount-street, is Coptic and Sanscrit here; and as for myself, I intend to affect deaf and dumbness till I reach Paris, where I hear every one can speak English a little."

"Now, then, to begin my functions," said I, as I rung for the waiter, and ran over in my mind rapidly how many invaluable hints for my new position my present trip might afford me, "always provided" (as the lawyers say,) that Lady Jane Callonby might feel herself tempted to become my travelling companion, in which case--But, confound it, how I am castle-building again. Meanwhile, Mrs. Bingham is looking as hungry and famished as though she would eat the waiter. Ha! this is the "carte."

"Allons faire pet.i.t souper."

"Cotelettes d'Agneau."

"Maionnaise d'homard."

"Perdreaux rouges aux truffes--mark that, aux truffes."

"Gelee au maraschin."

"And the wine, sir," said the waiter, with a look of approval at my selection, "Champagne--no other wine, sir?"

"No," said I, "Champagne only. Frappe de glace, of course," I added, and the waiter departed with a bow that would have graced St. James's.

As long as our immaterial and better part shall be doomed to keep company with its fleshy tabernacle, with all its attendant miseries of gout and indigestion, how much of our enjoyment in this world is dependent upon the mere accessory circ.u.mstances by which the business of life is carried on and maintained, and to despise which is neither good policy nor sound philosophy. In this conclusion a somewhat long experience of the life of a traveller has fully established me. And no where does it press more forcibly upon the mind than when first arrived in a continental inn, after leaving the best hotels of England still fresh in your memory. I do not for a moment dispute the very great superiority in comfort of the latter, by which I would be understood to mean all those resemblances to one's own home which an English hotel so eminently possesses, and every other one so markedly wants; but I mean that in contrivances to elevate the spirit, cheer the jaded and tired wayfarer by objects which, however they may appeal to the mere senses, seem, at least, but little sensual, give me a foreign inn; let me have a large s.p.a.cious saloon, with its lofty walls and its airy, large-paned windows, (I shall not object if the cornices and mouldings be gilded, because such is usually the case,)--let the sun and heat of a summer's day come tempered through the deep lattices of a well-fitting "jalousie," bearing upon them the rich incense of a fragrant orange tree in blossom--and the sparkling drops of a neighbouring fountain, the gentle plash of which is faintly audible amid the hum of the drone-bee--let such be the "agremens" without--while within, let the more substantial joys of the table await, in such guise as only a French cuisine can present them--give me these, I say, and I shall never sigh for the far-famed and long-deplored comforts of a box in a coffee-room, like a pew in a parish church, though certainly not so well cus.h.i.+oned, and fully as dull, with a hot waiter and a cold beefsteak--the only thing higher than your game being your bill, and the only thing less drinkable than your port being the porter.

With such exotic notions, figures vous, my dear reader, whether or not I felt happy as I found myself seated between my two fair friends doing the honours of a little supper, and a.s.sisting the exhilaration of our champagne by such efforts of wit as, under favourable circ.u.mstances like these, are ever successful--and which, being like the foaming liquid which washes them down, to be swallowed without waiting, are ever esteemed good, from the excitement that results, and never seriously canva.s.sed for any more sterling merit. Nothing ever makes a man so agreeable as the belief that he is so: and certainly my fair companions appeared to have the most excellent idea of my powers in that respect; and I fancy, that I made more bon mots, hit off more epigrams, and invented more choice incidents on that happy evening, than, if now remembered, would suffice to pay my tailor's bill, when collated for Bentley's Miscellany, and ill.u.s.trated by Cruikshank--alas! that, like the good liquor that seasoned them, both are gone by, and I am left but to chronicle their memory of the fun, in dulness, and counterfeit the effervescence of the grape juice, by soda water. One thing, however, is certain--we formed a most agreeable party; and if a feeling of gloom ever momentarily shot through my mind, it was, that evenings like these came so rarely in this work-a-day world--that each such should be looked on, as our last.

If I had not already shown myself up to my reader as a garcon volage of the first water, perhaps I should now hesitate about confessing that I half regretted the short s.p.a.ce during which it should be my privilege to act as the guide and mentor of my two friends. The impetuous haste which I before felt necessary to exercise in reaching Paris immediately, was not tempered by prudent thoughts about travelling at night, and reflections about sun-stroke by day; and even moments most devoted to the object of my heart's aspirations were fettered by the very philosophic idea, that it could never detract from the pleasure of the happiness that awaited me, if I travelled on the primrose path to its attainment. I argued thus: if Lady Jane be true--if--if, in a word, I am destined to have any success in the Callonby family, then will a day or two more not risk it. My present friends I shall, of course, take leave of at Paris, where their own acquaintances await them; and, on the other hand, should I be doomed once more to disappointment, I am equally certain I should feel no disposition to form a new attachment. Thus did I reason, and thus I believed; and though I was a kind of consultation opinion among my friends in "suits of love," I was really then unaware that at no time is a man so p.r.o.ne to fall in love as immediately after his being jilted. If common sense will teach us not to dance a bolero upon a sprained ancle, so might it also convey the equally important lesson, not to expose our more vital and inflammatory organ to the fire the day after its being singed.

Reflections like these did not occur to me at this moment; besides that I was "going the pace" with a forty-horse power of agreeability that left me little time for thought--least of all, if serious. So stood matters. I had just filled our tall slender gla.s.ses with the creaming and "petillan" source of wit and inspiration, when the loud crack, crack, crack of a postillion's whip, accompanied by the shaking trot of a heavy team, and the roll of wheels, announced a new arrival. "Here they come," said I, "only look at them--four horses and one postillion, all apparently straggling and straying after their own fancy, but yet going surprisingly straight notwithstanding. See how they come through that narrow archway--it might puzzle the best four-in-hand in England to do it better."

"What a handsome young man, if he had not those odious moustaches. Why, Mr. Lorrequer, he knows you: see, he is bowing to you."

"Me! Oh! no. Why, surely, it must be--the devil--it is Kilkee, Lady Jane's brother. I know his temper well. One five minutes' observation of my present intimacy with my fair friends, and adieu to all hopes for me of calling Lord Callonby my father-in-law. There is not therefore, a moment to lose."

As these thoughts revolved through my mind, the confusion I felt had covered my face with scarlet; and, with a species of blundering apology for abruptly leaving them for a moment, I ran down stairs only in time sufficient to antic.i.p.ate Kilkee's questions as to the number of my apartments, to which he was desirous of proceeding at once. Our first greetings over, Kilkee questioned me as to my route--adding, that his now was necessarily an undecided one, for if his family happened not to be at Paris, he should be obliged to seek after them among the German watering-places. "In any case, Mr. Lorrequer," said he, "we shall hunt them in couples. I must insist upon your coming along with me."

"Oh! that," said I, "you must not think of. Your carriage is a coupe, and I cannot think of crowding you."

"Why, you don't seriously want to affront me, I hope, for I flatter myself that a more perfect carriage for two people cannot be built. Hobson made it on a plan of my own, and I am excessively proud of it, I a.s.sure you. Come, that matter is decided--now for supper. Are there many English here just now?--By-the-by, those new 'natives' I think I saw you standing with on the balcony--who are they?"

"Oh! the ladies--oh! Yes, people I came over with--"

"One was pretty, I fancied. Have you supped? Just order something, will you--meanwhile, I shall write a few lines before the post leaves." --Saying which, he dashed up stairs after the waiter, and left me to my meditations.

"This begins to be pleasant," thought I, as the door closed, leaving me alone in the "salon." In circ.u.mstances of such moment, I had never felt so nonplussed as now, how to decline Kilkee's invitation, without discovering my intimacy with the Binghams--and yet I could not, by any possibility, desert them thus abruptly. Such was the dilemma. "I see but one thing for it," said I, gloomily, as I strode through the coffee-room, with my head sunk and my hands behind my back--"I see but one thing left--I must be taken ill to-night, and not be able to leave my bed in the morning--a fever--a contagious fever--blue and red spots all over me--and be raving wildly before breakfast time; and if ever any discovery takes place of my intimacy above stairs, I must only establish it as a premonitory symptom of insanity, which seized me in the packet. And now for a doctor that will understand my case, and listen to reason, as they would call it in Ireland." With this idea uppermost, I walked out into the court-yard to look for a commissionaire to guide me in my search. Around on every side of me stood the various carriages and voitures of the hotel and its inmates, to the full as distinctive and peculiar in character as their owners. "Ah! there is Kilkee's," said I, as my eye lighted upon the well-balanced and elegant little carriage which he had been only with justice encomiumizing. "It is certainly perfect, and yet I'd give a handful of louis-d'ors it was like that venerable cabriolet yonder, with the one wheel and no shafts. But, alas! these springs give little hope of a break down, and that confounded axle will outlive the patentee. But still, can nothing be done?--eh? Come, the thought is a good one--I say, garcon, who greases the wheels of the carriage here?"

"C'est moi, monsieur," said a great oaf, in wooden shoes and a blouse.

"Well, then, do you understand these?" said I, touching the patent axle-boxes with my cane.

He shook his head.

"Then who does, here?"

"Ah! Michael understands them perfectly."

"Then bring him here," said I.

The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer Part 13

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